Kids learn how to identify and express their feelings by watching you deal with yours. When somebody has died, you lose a job, or something traumatic happens, it’s more than OK to let your kids see you cry. It’s actually important that they see you show pain and emotion, otherwise they grow up thinking they’re not supposed to have feelings. Crying and feeling sad are a part of life. It’s not all rainbows and lollipops. Your kids need to see you acknowledge it, talk about it, and come up with a plan to remedy the situation.
I also want to note that there are things worth crying about and things that aren’t (like spilled milk). Sometimes, you need to pull your act together, take care of business, and get on with life.
Now, there’s a major difference between crying and having a meltdown. Your kids do not need to see you acting hysterical in front of them because it doesn’t teach them anything and totally undermines their sense of security in the world. It’s like the floor caving in from under them.
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